Today has been a baking day

It’s not very often I have the house to myself, but today it got very close. With just my brother and me, it’s been a very productive but quiet day in the kitchen.

On the oven’s roster were blueberry scones/biscuits and carrot muffins. The scones, lovely and soft, came from a can. I have patience and counter space enough to have made them from scratch, but Immaculate Baking makes great ones that only require that I put them on a sheet. I also choose to dust a bit of sparkling sugar on their tops which not only sweetens them a little, but they also look great.

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Now, for the carrot muffins, I had to do a little more work, but still not much. Back during my trip to Williams Sonoma I picked up a bag of quick carrot bread mix. Instead of making the usual loaf, I opted to pull out the muffin tins and load them up. The bag of mix says it will make 12 muffins, but I managed to get 16 slightly smaller ones out of the batter. Well, technically 17, but as a good cook I know I have to taste things to ensure quality. It had nothing to do with the fact that they smelled amazing or I have a thing for making even numbers of things.

Both baking endeavors were greatly successful and my kitchen is only slightly worn from it all. A good dish wash will set it all right.

What’s going on in your kitchens today?

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Pumpkin bread!

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I told you in a previous post that I grabbed a number of bags of pumpkin bread mix during my visit to Williams Sonoma. Well, I finally made one of them and it is delicious! Right out of the oven (ok, I did let it cool for the 15 minutes I was supposed to–begrudgingly), it is the best scent you can imagine. (Are we sensing a theme? That I really–really– like the scent of pumpkin and spices? Good.) Because I am sometimes ridiculous, I cut a slice right out of the center and spread it with a bit of margarine. Instant melt. Both the margarine and me.

I’ve got three more bags, which will last me plenty long into the season (and beyond, I’m sure). Plus, I’ve also got that carrot bread mix that I’m hoping to try. I might make it into muffins instead of a traditional loaf. One thing’s for sure: I’ll let you all know how it goes.

My pilgrimage to Williams Sonoma

Shopping with my dad is always a little dangerous. Pretty much any situation where I am shopping can be a little hairy. I am not ashamed to say I enjoy shopping, especially for kitchen gadgets and whatnot. I have done a lot better in the last few years not going overboard. But when my dad and I get together, we can justify each other’s whims and find ourselves with a much larger bag leaving the store than we anticipated when we walked in. For this reason, my mother makes us call her before we head to the checkout and explain everything we are buying. We did not do that this time.

To be fair, we only bought two things that weren’t on our “list.” We headed in knowing we were going to pick up some pumpkin bread mix (one of which I made and will share the story of soon), a jar of turkey brine mix, and the bags to brine the Thanksgiving turkey in. We got those. I ended up getting three bags of the bread mix, and tossed in a bag of carrot bread mix as well. I do not count the carrot bread mix as one of the indiscretions, but you can feel free to disagree with me.

We found the turkey brine mix and decided to pick up a jar of thyme garlic brine to do a pork loin in. Again, I do not count the second jar as an off the list buy. It is also brine, and therefore counts. Next to the brine, however, was the first piece of trouble. Braising sauce. I have never personally braised something, but I have always wanted to. This jar of delicious looking balsamic and caramelized onion sauce called to me. “Rebecca, I would be amazing on a chicken.” Yes, yes you would be. First off the list item added to our haul.

The haul (minus two more bags of bread mix). Also, that is a pumpkin from my backyard.

The haul (minus two more bags of bread mix). Also, that is a pumpkin from my backyard.

One thing you should keep in mind at this point is that I was carrying all of our stuff around the store in my arms. Williams Sonoma is not a place that has carts or baskets. Yes, I could have left what we’d picked up so far at the counter, but I have a feeling that the weight of our haul was keeping us from picking out more stuff and acted as a motivator for me to get dad to the checkout before my arms fell off.

So, with our growing cadre of items, we picked up the brine bags, and I followed my dad around the store for another five or so minutes. After watching him look at stuff we were never going to find a way to convince my mom to OK, I said I was going to stand in line and he better follow. It was there at the checkout that we he spotted our second off list item. While I was unloading my very sore arms, he walked over to the gourmet candy shelf and picked up some Sour Apple Slices candy. Now, truthfully, that is a small step outside the lines. We even mulled over getting my mom something similar for her, but decided there wasn’t anything she would really enjoy (which she confirmed when we described our choices). With all of our stuff totaled and double bagged (because even the clerk recognized how heavy it all was), we left. I will not disclose the total we reached (which mom was not thrilled with, but took much better than either of us expected).

I made my dad carry the bag out.

 

Small aside: I realized in editing this blog that I wrote Williams Sonoma wrong every time in the first pass. I always leave the ‘s’ off Williams. I do that even when I say it. Maybe they should just be William Sonoma. Too many s’s next to each other. 😉